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Monday, November 17, 2008

Secret Service blames ignorant Palin for Obama racial death threats

The US Secret Service has blamed Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin for the death threats against president-elect Barack Obama.

Apparently, Palin’s repeated questioning of Obama’s patriotism sparked off the death threats from white supremacists. According to The Telegraph of London, Palin attracted criticism for accusing Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the 1960s radical William Ayers. In actual sense, the only thing that Ayers, now a university professor in Chicago, shared with Obama is that they both sat on a school board. Ayers’s subversive activities were reported in the 1960s when Obama was a toddler. Incidentally, Palin prematurely launched the first Ayers attack even without the approval of Republican presidential candidate John McCain’s team. The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" at Obama until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.

But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have intentionally or otherwise encouraged white supremacists to go even further. The Secret Service warned the Obama family last month that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Palin’s attacks. Michelle Obama, the First-Lady-in-waiting, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett to ask: "Why would they try to make people hate us?"

The revelations, contained in a Newsweek history of the campaign, are likely to further damage Palin’s credentials as a future presidential candidate. Intelligence analysts Stratfor have already warned that Obama is a high-risk target for racist gunmen. "Two plots to assassinate Obama were broken up during the campaign season, and several more remain under investigation. We would expect federal authorities to uncover many more plots to attack the president that have been hatched by white supremacist ideologues," it said.

McCain aides blame Palin for losing the election, branding her a "diva" and a "whack job" on account of her heavy spending for her campaign wardrobe, including designer duds, sprayed-on tans and fancy underwear. On top of the $150,000 (around KSh. 12 million) first outlined in Federal Election Commission filings, Palin spent "tens of thousands of dollars" on additional clothing, makeup and jewelry for herself and her family, including $40,000 (KSh. 3.2 million) in luxury goods for her husband, Todd. The campaign was charged for silk boxer shorts, spray tanners and 13 suitcases to carry all the designer clothes, according to Republican insiders. Sources said the expenses were put on the personal credit cards of low-level Palin staffers. They were only discovered when they asked party officials for reimbursement.

Financial disclosure statements documented by Politico.com show the retail outlay for Palin and her family since early September included a $75,062.63 (KSh. 6 million) expenditure that resulted in a combined tab of $49,425.74, (KSh. 4 million) all paid by the Republican National Committee. Hair and makeup accounted for another $4,716.49 (KSh. 3.8 million) billed to the RNC in September, with no such costs reported in August. (October expenditures have not yet been made public) The Times of London notes that Palin appears not to have been photographed in the same outfit twice during the campaign.

In a statement sent to many mainstream media outlets, spokesperson for the John McCain and Sarah Palin campaign, Tracey Schmitt, said: "With all of the important issues facing the country right now, it’s remarkable that we’re spending time talking about pantsuits and blouses. It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign."

To crown it all, details have emerged about Palin’s unbelievable extent of her foreign policy ignorance, the most surprising being that "she thought Africa is a country, not a continent." In an interview, she proclaimed that South Africa is the capital "of that country called Africa."

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